Karadzic appeals life sentence for War Crimes in BiH

March 29, 2019 8:00 AM

War Criminal Radovan Karadzic has appealed to the verdict on life imprisonment imposed on him on March 20th, was confirmed by the Mechanism of International Criminal Tribunals for Klix.ba news portal.

In an appeal, signed by Karadzic’s lawyer Peter Robinson, it was stated that the two-thirds majority in the verdict made a mistake by violating Karadzic’s right to appeal when deciding on a life sentence instead of returning the issue of a suitable punishment to the Trial Chamber.

The text states that the majority made a mistake because it did not present a reasonable opinion when deciding on a life sentence, as it did not take the practice of making verdicts in the former Yugoslavia.

Appeals judges in The Hague last week upheld Karadzic’s 2016 conviction for genocide in the Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities throughout the Bosnian civil war in the 1990s.

They then increased his sentence from 40 years to life, saying the initial jail term had underestimated the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of his crimes.

Karadzic’s appeal cited eight grounds to challenge the Mar 20 ruling despite the fact that decisions by the appeals chamber of the UN tribunal are usually decisive.

On 24 March 2016, Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”) convicted Karadžić of genocide in the area of Srebrenica in 1995 and of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts (forcible transfer), terror, unlawful attacks on civilians, and hostage-taking. He was acquitted of the charge of genocide in other municipalities in BiH.

The Trial Chamber found that Karadžić committed these crimes through his participation in four joint criminal enterprises (“JCE”s): (i) the JCE to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory through the commission of crimes in municipalities throughout BiH; (ii) the JCE to spread terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo through a campaign of sniping and shelling; (iii) the JCE with the common purpose of taking UN personnel hostage in order to compel NATO to abstain from conducting air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets; and (iv) the JCE to eliminate the Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica in July 1995. The Trial Chamber also found Karadžić responsible as a superior in relation to certain crimes committed by his subordinates in Srebrenica in 1995.

Following the rendering of the Trial Judgement, and in accordance with Article 2 of the Mechanism’s Transitional Arrangements, the Mechanism assumed jurisdiction for the appeals proceedings in the Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadžić case. Both Karadžić and the Prosecution appealed the Trial Judgement, filing their respective notices of appeal on 22 July 2016, their appeal briefs on 5 December 2016, their response briefs on 15 March 2017, and their reply briefs on 6 April 2017.  The appeal hearing took place on 23 and 24 April 2018 at the Mechanism’s Hague branch.

The initial indictment against Karadžić was confirmed on 25 July 1995. He was arrested in Serbia on 21 July 2008, and transferred to the ICTY on 30 July 2008. The trial commenced on 26 October 2009 and 586 in-court testimonies were heard by the Trial Chamber.

The Trial Chamber sentenced Karadžić to life imprisonment.



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